All You Wanted To Know About Cruise Lines (Part 1).

thanks to Gene Sloan / March 19, 2019

Thinking about booking your first cruise? The sheer range of choices can be daunting. There are more than two dozen lines marketing to North Americans — no two alike.

That’s why TPG put together a quick guide to 16 of the most popular brands, from cruise giant Royal Caribbean, which operates the world’s biggest ships, to small luxury players such as Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas.

Azamara Club Cruises

With just three small ships, Azamara Quest, Journey and Pursuit, each holding fewer than 700 passengers, Azamara Club Cruises is one of the smallest players in the cruise business. But it has a loyal following of travelers who appreciate the upscale ambiance of its vessels, the inclusive amenities it offers (including gratuities and alcoholic drinks) and its destination focus. The line prides itself on offering longer stays in ports, including multiday visits. Its ships have an intimate, boutique-hotel.

Carnival Cruise Line

The self-described “Fun Ship” line is the king of short, affordable, fun-focused cruises from US ports to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico and beyond. The choice of roughly one in five cruisers, its ships are notoriously lively, flashy and packed with fun features such as water slides. Just don’t expect anything too fancy

Celebrity Cruises

Designed to be a cut above mainstream options such as Carnival while still relatively affordable, this Miami-based “premium” line is known for some of the most stylish ships at sea. Expect high-end design, cutting-edge art and on-trend restaurants. In short, it aims for sophisticates, not the party crowd. Its newest ship, the Celebrity Edge, aims to attract new-to-cruisers to the seas with a bevy of amenities and a sleek design.

When Celebrity Cruises first debuted Celebrity Solstice, the first ship in its Solstice Class, travel history was made. It was the first ship to have a real grass lawn at sea plus the first to have a hot glass show onboard. In addition to providing industry firsts, the ship is also — simply put — beautiful. Five ships later and the Solstice Class continues to provide beauty and a casual elegance with an emphasis on innovation, pampering, and fun.

Solstice Class

Celebrity Equinox 2009 pax 2,850

Celebrity Eclipse 2010 pax 2,850

Celebrity Silhouette 2011 pax 2,886

Celebrity Reflection 2012pax 3,046

Celebrity Edge Class.

Celebrity Edge 2018 pax 2918

Celebrity Apex 2020 pax 2910

The first in the new Edge Class of ships designed to shatter expectations. With luxuriously designed rooms that erase the boundary between indoors and out, a cantilevered Magic Carpet soaring above the sea, and a collection of 29 world-class restaurants, bars, and lounges, Celebrity Edge has been voted Best New Ship by the editors of Cruise Critic.

Crystal Cruises

Some say this is the ultimate luxury line. Despite its small size — aside from a budding river cruise operation, it offers just two traditional ocean ships and a small yacht — Crystal long has set the bar for on-board service, elegance and fine dining. Alas, you’ll pay a pretty penny for it.

Ocean-Together Crystal Symphony and Serenity enjoy a reputation as The World's Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line.

River-Feature the largest standard accommodations in European River Cruising.

Crystal Bach, Debussy, Mahler, Mozart and Ravel.


A storied line with roots that go back to the 1800s, this three-ship brand is perhaps best-known for its 2,695-passenger flagship, Queen Mary 2, which lives up to its billing as a true “ocean liner” with semi-regular, transatlantic service between Southampton, England and New York, and now LIVERPOOL. Cunard fans love the line’s relatively formal vibe (including nightly dress codes) and other nods to ocean-liner tradition including evenings with ballroom dancing. Afternoon tea is a Daily British tradition served in the Queens Room at 3:30pm, their white gloved waiters serve a perfect cup of english tea with fresh scones and cream as well as perfectly cut finger sandwiches.

Disney Cruise Line

Meet-and-greets with Disney characters, Disney-themed shows and the most extensive kiddie fun zones on the high seas are just a few of the family-friendly allures of a Disney cruise. If you’re a Disney fan, nothing quite compares. Ports of call include Hawaii, Bermuda, Cozumel and even Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. The downside? As with Disney’s parks on land, it doesn’t come cheap.


  • Disney Magic

  • Disney Wonder

  • Disney Dream

  • Disney Fantasy

AquaDuck is a water coaster (a water slide with similar turns, drops and g-forces to a roller coaster) that is located on the deck of two Disney cruise ships. It was first constructed on the Disney Dream in January 2011 and then later on the Disney Fantasy in February 2012.

Holland America Line

Tradition long has been a touchstone for this storied line, which dates to 1873 and is known for carefully crafted, globe-circling itineraries on mid-size ships. But it’s been shaking things up in recent years with lively new venues such as B.B. King’s Blues Clubs. Couples and retirees are the market; families with kids might want to look elsewhere.

Pinnacle Class.

Nieuw Statendam/Kiningsdam.

Proudly reflecting more than 140 years of Dutch seafaring tradition, ms Nieuw Statendam is the second of Holland America Line’s Pinnacle-class ships with legendary architecture, signature service, opulent interiors and grand light-filled spaces; a staple of the nautical heritage for which the cruise line is known.

Launched in December 2018, ms Nieuw Statendam raises the bar for 21st-century cruising with elegant designs, breathtaking central atrium, subtly changing high-definition backdrop projections and brilliant hospitality. Dazzling entertainment featuring Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard venues and the popular B.B. King’s Blues Club associated with the new “Music Walk” experience. The ms Nieuw Statendam is a sister ship to ms Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle-class ship of Holland America Line. Together, these spectacular new vessels combine classic style with carefully crafted itineraries that allow you to see the world in a whole new light.

Rotterdam Class


Signature Class

Eurodam/Nieuw Amsterdam.